Stella By Starlight's My Electric Robot Friend | Record Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Stella By Starlight's My Electric Robot Friend 

(self-released)

click to enlarge 11.19musreview_stella.jpg

Durham indie dance duo Stella By Starlight is songwriter/ producer Nathan Fowler and guitarist Sonny Byrd. Despite collecting an MTVu Woodie Award for Best Music on Campus last year, the duo's somehow managed to fly under the local radar for the past two years. But "Better Living Through Chemistry," the lead track on the band's third EP, is the sort of stuff that can change that: A masterful exercise in Fowler's production, the song opens with toy piano plinks before giving way to a massive, stuttering beat abetted by bubbly synth bass. Byrd's acoustic guitar solo seamlessly ushers in the return of toy piano in the latter third, offering an organic accent to heavy electronic proceedings. But where "Better Living" works by adding sonic flourishes to a base of Beck and Cake, closer "Can I Take U Home" is a haphazard electro-funk mess that cops guitar and synth tones from '90s teen sitcoms.

Between those bookends, Stella succeeds variably: Fowler tries his hand with a Def Jux flow on the title track, but his wordplay is a bit thin. "As Good as It Gets" is a spot-on Killers imitation sans the big hook, while simple synth progressions and sticky melodies make "Depth Perception" instantly worth a hum humming. The inconsistency, both in quality and style, means a release that's ultimately a passable pastiche with a few rather memorable moments.

Stella By Starlight plays Local 506 Friday, Nov. 21. Mike Posner & The Brain Trust and Juan Huevos kick off the $6 show at 10 p.m.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

Where is the Q and A with Pepper?

by Alex Marsh on Record Review: Hardcore Titans Corrosion of Conformity Bring Pepper Keenan Back Into the Fold (Record Review)

There's bass in this. It's not a duo, at least in the recordings. …

by Steve Grothmann on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Where is the Q and A with Pepper?

by Alex Marsh on Record Review: Hardcore Titans Corrosion of Conformity Bring Pepper Keenan Back Into the Fold (Record Review)

There's bass in this. It's not a duo, at least in the recordings. …

by Steve Grothmann on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Remember that time the "journalist" took to the comments section to fire off a snarky response when called out on …

by JayDubz on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Pretty sure that if the press release we received had mentioned Chris Grubbs, the article would have reflected that crucial …

by David Klein on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Pretty sure John Meier hasn't been in this band for quite some time and Chris Grubbs wrote and recorded this …

by JayDubz on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation